Ferguson: Man Utd cannot afford to drop another game

With 14 matches left, Ferguson said: "I have to look at where the dangers are and say to myself will they go through the season undefeated as Chelsea and Arsenal have done in the past.

"I am taking nothing for granted. We may have to. It is getting very tight now."

Mischievously, however, Ferguson claims he could do with a helping hand in his bid to keep Arsenal's Arsene Wenger and Chelsea's Avram Grant at a safe distance.

That's why the Old Trafford boss has one eye on the African Nations Cup in Ghana.

He admits he would love to see a final between the host nation and the Ivory Coast, so that key players from their title rivals are prevented from making a quick return.

Arsenal pair Kolo Toure and Emmanuel Eboue are away with the Ivory Coast as are Chelsea duo Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou.

Grant is also missing Michael Essien as he is helping Ghana's cause.

Ferguson said: "It is my wish the Ivory Coast and Ghana make the final and keep the players occupied.

"Avram Grant and Arsene Wenger know fine well what I am hoping for. You have to be selfish in a case like this.

"Can you get a replay in the final of the African Nations Cup? That would be good!"

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